Table of Contents
Albumin is the most protein found in blood plasma. The albumin blood test is a blood test that measures the concentration of albumin in your plasma.
What is an albumin blood test?
The amount of albumin in your blood is measured by an albumin blood test. Albumin is a protein that the liver creates. Albumin aids in the retention of fluid in the bloodstream, preventing it from leaking into other tissues. It also transports substances such as hormones, vitamins, and enzymes throughout your body. Low albumin levels may suggest the patient has a problem with the liver or kidneys.
What is it used for?
The test’s purpose is to determine whether you have abnormal albumin levels in your blood. Too high or too low levels can indicate an underlying health problem. Albumin testing, either alone or in combination with other measurements, can aid in diagnosing, screening, and monitoring a variety of conditions.
Diagnosis refers to testing that occurs after symptoms have occurred. For example, if you have signs of potential liver disease such as jaundice or fatigue, or symptoms of possible kidney disease such as abnormal urination or unexplained swelling, particularly of the feet and legs, a doctor may recommend an albumin blood test.
Screening is a type of testing that aims to detect health problems before they manifest as symptoms. Albumin is not typically measured alone in screening. Still, it may be included with other measurements in a comprehensive metabolic panel or liver panel that may be prescribed and included in a routine medical check-up.
Monitoring entails conducting tests to determine how a person’s condition develops or responds to treatment. Follow-up tests for albumin in the blood can indicate the severity of liver disease and how it progresses.
“Read also: Acetaminophen Level Test“
Why do I need an ALB test?
As part of your routine checkup, your doctor may have ordered liver function tests or a comprehensive metabolic panel, including albumin tests. This test may also be required if you have liver or kidney disease symptoms.
Among the symptoms of liver disease are:
- Jaundice is a condition that causes the skin and eyes to turn yellow.
- Loss of weight.
- Appetite loss.
- Dark urine.
- Stool in light colors.
Kidney disease symptoms include:
- Swelling in the stomach, thighs, or face.
- Urination more frequently, especially at night.
- Urine that is foamy, bloody, or coffee-colored.
- Skin itch.
How is the Albumin blood test done?
- ALB Test
A blood sample is required for testing, typically obtained by withdrawing a small amount of blood from a vein in your arm. This blood sample is often collected in a doctor’s office or other medical facilities.
While at-home tests are uncommon, they can be performed by pricking your finger to obtain a drop of blood sent to a lab.
- You will be seated in a chair with an elastic band tied around your upper arm.
- After cleaning the inside of your arm near your elbow an antiseptic, needle will be inserted to draw blood.
- The entire procedure usually takes no more than a few minutes. When the needle is inserted and removed, there may be some minor discomfort.
- After your blood has been drawn, a bandage or cotton swab may be used to apply pressure and stop the bleeding.
A quick fingerstick is used in an at-home test kit to obtain a drop of blood from your fingertip. The blood sample is placed on a strip of test paper and packaged for transportation to a laboratory.
What are the preparations I should do before the test?
Inform your doctor about any medications or supplements you take before having an albumin blood test. Some medications can affect albumin levels, and your doctor can advise you if you need to change your medications before the test.
You do not need to fast before having your blood drawn if only albumin is measured. When albumin is counted as part of a panel test, you may need to fast for 12 hours or more before eating or drinking anything other than water.
Check with your doctor ahead of time to find out what type of test you’ll have and what preparation is required. If the doctor advises you to prepare for a trial, make sure you do so.
Are there any risks to the Serum Albumin Test?
A blood draw is a routine procedure with no serious or long-term consequences. If you experience severe or long-lasting side effects, consult your doctor for specific advice.
Light bruising or soreness may occur around the puncture site. After the test, you should drive and resume your normal activities.
After a fingerstick test at home, there are few long-term effects. If your fingertip continues to bleed after you’ve taken the test sample, use a cotton swab or a bandage to apply pressure.
What do ALB Test results mean?
- Serum Albumin, Albumin blood test range, alb test normal range,
Typically, albumin blood test results are available within a few business days. Your doctor’s office may contact you directly to inform you of the results, or you may receive a test report electronically or in the mail.
Your albumin level will be listed on your test results. Albumin is measured in grams per deciliter of blood (g/dL). If additional measurements were taken in a panel test, you would see separate line items for each of those measurements on your test report.
Normal albumin levels are typically measured in 3.5 to 5.5 g/dL. Because reference ranges differ from laboratory to laboratory, it is critical to carefully examine your test report to see if a different field is listed.
Albumin levels above or below the reference range may indicate a health problem. Conditions that impair the liver’s normal function and ability to synthesize albumin can result in low albumin levels.
Because albumin lingers in the blood for several weeks, recent, short-term liver health issues that reduce albumin production may go undetected. Decreased albumin levels are more frequently associated with chronic liver conditions such as cirrhosis.
Low albumin levels in the blood can demonstrate diseases in which the kidneys are unable to stop albumin leakage and loss. In this case, albumin (or protein) levels in the urine can be measured alongside creatinine. This is referred to as a microalbumin test or a urine albumin creatinine ratio test.
Although albumin is produced in the liver, abnormally low albumin levels have also been linked to malnutrition, inflammation, infection, thyroid disease, and gastrointestinal issues.
Doctors frequently interpret albumin levels in conjunction with other metabolism indicators and the health of the liver and kidneys. Seeing which measurements are normal and which are abnormal can help your doctor discover patterns in your results that may demonstrate the most likely cause of the test’s results.
What factors could influence my test results?
Dehydration can result in higher albumin levels. Certain medications can cause an increase in albumin levels. Insulin, steroids, and hormones are examples of these.
Your albumin levels may be lower if you are pregnant. Birth control pills and other medications may also lower your albumin levels.
Are ALB test results accurate?
Measuring albumin in the blood is a standard and relatively accurate procedure. Blood albumin testing, like all medical tests, is not perfect, and some ways of assessing albumin levels can under or overestimate levels in certain situations.
When reviewing your results, you can ask your doctor about the laboratory that performed the test, the reference range they used, and the reliability of your test results.
Am I in need of follow-up tests?
Following an albumin blood test, you may be given follow-up tests in various situations. If your albumin level is abnormal, additional tests to determine the underlying cause and establish a specific diagnosis may be required. Your doctor can go over your albumin level and any other measurements taken on a panel test to explain the reasoning, benefits, and drawbacks of various possible follow-up tests.
What other tests might I have in addition to this one
Tests ordered by your healthcare provider may also measure other proteins in your blood. These are some examples:
- Protein in total.
- Electrophoresis of urine proteins.
- Electrophoresis of serum proteins.
- Your urine may also be tested for albumin by your doctor.
If your blood albumin is low, your doctor may also order tests to determine what is causing the inflammation. Among these tests are:
- C-reactive protein (CRP).
- Alpha-1 fatty acid.
- The glycoprotein, also known as a1-AG.
Questions to ask your doctor
Some of the following questions may help you better understand your situation and the significance of your albumin level as you review your test results with your doctor:
- My albumin level was normal or abnormal. Was it high or low if it was abnormal?
- Were any other measurements taken in addition to albumin? What lessons can you glean from those levels?
- What is the most likely cause of my test result?
- What level of albumin indicates kidney failure?
- What causes low albumin levels?
- Do you have any recommendations for follow-up tests?
Is there a difference between the Albumin blood test and the Urine Albumin test?
- Albumin blood test normal range,
Urine albumin testing is primarily used to diagnose kidney problems, whereas albumin blood testing can detect liver, kidney, or other body systems.
Albumin enters the bloodstream after being produced in the liver. When your kidneys work correctly, they keep albumin from entering your urine. As a result, testing can look for albumin in the urine, indicating abnormal kidney function.
What distinguishes albumin from prealbumin?
Albumin and prealbumin are both proteins made in the liver. Despite its name, prealbumin is not a precursor to albumin, but a completely seperate molecule. Its scientific name is transthyretin.
Prealbumin primarily aids in transporting thyroid hormones and vitamin A in the blood. Prealbumin levels vary more quickly in response to short-term health changes because it does not persist in the blood as long as albumin. Measuring prealbumin is most commonly used to assess nutritional status.
Your doctor is the best person to explain your ALB test results and discuss what they may mean for your health, as well as whether any additional tests are necessary as a follow-up.